Jul 10

ROBIN BECK – “First Time”

Popular71 comments • 5,435 views

#619, 19th November 1988, video

Minor Popular milestone alert! This is the very latest song that I had no recollection of whatsoever before starting this project. Never saw the advert, never heard the record. So I’d have been really happy if this had been an unexpected delight, or even a minor pleasure. As it is the only unexpected thing about “The First Time” is its attempted fake-out: you think it’s going to be one kind of bad song (vaguely motivational ballad) and instead it’s another (vaguely agonised power ballad).

The latter doesn’t have to be bad, mind you – but “First Time” doesn’t go beyond its one selling point, the breathless surge at the end of the chorus. It’s a schlocky moment but as the climax to a 30-second TV spot it’s effective – though you’d hope hearing “I Love You” for the very first time would merit more than a can of pop. Repeat it several times over a single and it just seems a bit profligate, each peak a little smaller than the one before until the record fizzles out completely.



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  1. 61
    wichita lineman on 23 Nov 2010 #

    Ahh… good, I was surprised that you were thinking of laying into 20 Dynamic Hits (Vol 1). Would the initials for the Hugely Important Album be MFTC or OY?

    I’ve got a lot of time for Slim’s slim list of hit 45s but must confess I’ve never sat down for a whole album session with him. As with popular I’m avoiding sneaking a peek at what’s next on thenplaylong. So I’m still somewhat in the (self imposed) dark over these TV advertised horrors.

  2. 62
    Billy Smart on 23 Nov 2010 #

    Re 61. Surely the hugely important album must be TARGO!

    Old joke – What’s the difference between The James Last Orchestra and a cow? A cow has the horns at the front and the arsehole at the back.

  3. 63
    wichita lineman on 23 Nov 2010 #

    Re 62: Oh yes. Blimey, now I feel like Morrissey championing Herman’s Hermits over S&TFS… I think I’d still rather listen to the Move’s Message From The Country or Colin Blunstone’s One Year, though. Maybe Marcello will draw a parallel between TARGO and Slim Whitman – biggest selling yodeling records since Frank Ifield’s heyday.

  4. 64
    punctum on 25 Nov 2010 #

    To be fair Herr Last has appeared on TPL as the co-author of “Happy Heart,” as essayed by Andy Williams and Wee Neil Reid, but as an artist his best chart performance was Last The Whole Night Long, #2 in June ’79.

    It’s mainly going to be TARGO with a substantial side-order of OY and certainly MFTC won’t be disregarded. I get to write about 1968’s O&O too (featuring the singer on OY) thanks to K-Tel but more about that when I get there.

  5. 65
    punctum on 25 Nov 2010 #

    #62: hahah, I’ve variously also heard that gag being told about Kevin Rowland and Julian Cope!

  6. 66
    punctum on 31 Dec 2010 #

    20 Dynamic Hits innit.

  7. 67
    the pinefox on 31 Dec 2010 #

    I see that Ewing and others don’t remember this song, whereas they remember most other hits. I can’t identify with this experience: this song was big, I heard it a lot, I have never forgotten it, and indeed I have always quite liked it, or assumed that I quite like it. As #1s go I would want to give it at least 6 or 7. (I probably don’t like most #1s.)

    Admittedly I now haven’t heard the track in years.

    I think I like it also cos the girl in the picture on the cover is pretty, and indeed the boy looks OK also.

    As far as I can tell, no one here has talked about the fact that the record and the track on the advert are different – the advert says ‘coke is it’ and the record doesn’t. Or is my memory now the one going wrong?

    I don’t agree that this + Deacon Blue on totp makes ‘grim times for pop’ as Ewing says, because I find this tolerable or probably a bit nostalgically likeable and I like Deacon Blue, not least ‘real gone kid’ which was presumably the relevant track and which I think is quite magnificent as chart 45s go. That sounds like good times for pop to me. But in truth, I’m not sure most of us can ever really approve of a whole pop moment or era, rather than individual records and trends.

  8. 68
    DanH on 27 Jan 2013 #

    Never heard this until now. It sounds very 1988, from what I remember as a 4-5 year old kid hearing a lot of this kind of stuff on the radio. I’m surprised it didn’t do anything in America, but we were probably too preoccupied with stuff like “Waiting For a Star To Fall” instead ;-)

  9. 69
    Marcia Wallace-Devers on 25 Apr 2021 #

    As mentioned earlier Need You Tonight or Stand Up for Your Love Rights would have been better number ones, in my opinion.

  10. 70
    23 Daves on 25 Apr 2021 #

    Only tangentially linked to this entry, but just remembered the other day that the Kia-Ora advert was a single as well, and created by Abba’s engineer. https://youtu.be/3p7hEZpHgbA

    Now what an interesting number one single that would have made… sadly, it didn’t even get close to the Top 40.

  11. 71
    Gareth Parker on 23 May 2021 #

    Seems reasonable enough to me this one. I’ll go with a generous 5/10 here.

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